Artist Amelia Fais Harnas's official biography, published to her personal website, is full of interesting tidbits that might seem out of place on a normal bio.
As a toddler, she inhaled paint thinner and had to sleep overnight in an airtent at Corning Hospital in Corning, N.Y. At five or six, she wore skirts patterned with motorcycles and rainbows. In her early teens, she danced to 1950s jingles in satin pants.
If that jumble of facts is any indication, Harnas isn't one to do things conventionally. So it is with her artwork, which forgoes the traditional canvas and paint for tablecloths and wine. The result: wine stain art.
In an e-mail correspondance with HuffPost, Harnas revealed that the idea for the series evolved over time. "The first two pieces that I made took an entire day, and when I finally saw the results, it was a most satisfying moment. I had no idea if it would actually work." Over a period of a year and a half, she's worked to perfect the technique. "This is one artist is who very happy to nerd-out and play scientist," she added.
Don't worry about much wine going to waste. A 20" by 16" portrait only requires one glass of wine, and she's experimented in the past with $10 bottles of French Cahors and Finger Lakes wine.
"I am definitely intrigued by the difference in quality of wine, but in terms of color and residual sugars and tannin content in terms of stain penetration," Harnas wrote. "I do plan on experimenting with all sorts of wine varieties and origins."
Harnas said the feedback to her work has been astoundingly positive, although there are some concerns as to how long such pieces can last.
"Like any artwork, you need to take care of it. I am doing everything in my knowledge and power to ensure they last as long as possible, of course," she explained. "On the other hand, part of the excitement is how fragile and unique these stains are."
Take a look at some of Harnas' beautiful and intricate wine stain portraits in the gallery below.